A Review and reflection of year one, unit 1. With suggestions for the remaining units.
I really am pleased with the teacher's notes. They help me to feel very prepared. Then, very often, i bring out the books to read with the children, and feel like the content does not line up with the notes, doesn't cover enough, or just isn't there.
I was not raised knowing Christian history, so it's all new to me. I know there is still work involved, and i should shape the curriculum to my family's needs, but i feel as though there is still a lot missing in the area of book selection.
Please, let me give some examples:
A is for Adam is an amazing book, but thereís no way anyone could finish coloring it in a week. And, we still did not have it done for our unit celebration, which bothered my daughter.
I assigned an entire book that was not suggested anywhere for week 2, chronological, so that my children could learn about ancient Mesopotamia and actually do some assignments. DK Mesopotamia.
In week 3, chronological there was too much bible reading. And the recommended bible at the time, the DK children's bible, did not cover enough of the story to keep it straight for them. We had to try and read and listen to audio cd. But i was grateful that specific bible stories were assigned with bible reference.
I understand that repetition is the key to success, especially with little ones, but it was all too much in weeks 4-6, chronological. My 5 year old would stop sometimes and say ' mommy we already read this!'
There was one book, Tutankhamenís gift that was too fanciful and glorified not only tut, but also the religion and the society that influenced it. for example: 'and the boy Tutankhamen restored the temples of the land and ruled over the people, it was said, with kindness and a true heart until the end of his days.' this is not bad, but it makes it harder for the young reader to bring God's opinion of denying Him, and the consequences that come from that choice, into perspective. I understand that in conversation we could stretch this book time to explain the pressures on kings, how these people viewed their beliefs and gods. And that we should and could talk about how believers and non-believers alike can and do accomplish good and bad things. Spiritually, i just saw it as a lot of unnecessary leg work.
We chose to replace this book with one used previously, that is now out of print, modern rhymes about ancient times. Not only did we enjoy some simple poetry, but we feel it helped cement some facts we had learned by summing up each topic in one book.
In week 7, the assigned stories from the bible were not all in the DK childrenís bible. Also, there was no reference in the DK bible for the commandments, except when Moses threw down the tablets. We supplemented the Rose Book of Bible Charts, Maps, and Timelines, pg. 57.
Over all Iím glad youíre not assigning this bible anymore. Though there are many interesting facts, and real life pictures, the story retellings were not accurate. They felt, often, as though they were paraphrased by someone who did not know the Lord, and therefore did not think displaying His character as good, just, and wrathful, was of importance. Many times excluding good accounts and including ones that werenít as necessary to the over-arching theme of Godís Holy Word Ė His love for mankind and plan of salvation.
In week 8, the statement about finding a few Levitical laws to read was a bit daunting to me. I feel as though some pertinent or topical suggestions could have been made. I know Iím an over worker, but I read all of Leviticus and chose things that fit together, or applied to our lives, and that showed Godís care for His servants, the priests.
The book the hardest word was hard to apply to Yom Kippur. It was a cute story about saying sorry, but we chose on Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, as it had more information as well as a nice family story. We felt this helped us to remember the facts and give us a glimpse into this holiday from a childís point of view. Iím glad you kept this as a suggestion in the alternates.
We actually used the Rose Book of Bible Charts, Maps, and Timelines at many times. When we studied the ark, the tabernacle, the Ten Commandments and many other times. Our family would highly recommend this book for any enhancement to bible studies.
If you chose to teach chronologically, I would like to suggest that you check the art in the teacherís notes, as well as geography. The reason for this is that you cannot really do the art study out of order, or the geography. So far we have totally missed out on both multiple week assignments. Such as elements of design for art, and the study on landforms in geography.
My concerns about the other assignments caused me to look ahead to other units and I have replaced or added several books as well.
Cleopatra by Diane Stanley is intriguing and beautiful. There is a lot of information, presented in a somewhat biased way. As I pre-read it I felt as though the author was seeking to show the intentions and morality of Cleopatra, and use those aspects to justify her bizarre behavior. This still makes many opportunities for discussion, so we are not taking the book out, but for information, we chose to incorporate you wouldnít want to be Cleopatra. There is still a lot of bias, and some we have to skip right over, but it presents the information quickly, and the children can talk through their own conclusions, based on her actions, as God teaches us to do.
The coloring book life in ancient Mexico we felt should be an accompaniment to compliment a book that presented the information with a few more pictures per topic. At the stage we are in, it is harder for the little ones to grasp ideas without pictures for the topics. We are still looking for a good history replacement. The titles we are considering are: Growing Up In Aztec Times (Growing Up In series) by Marion Wood; The Maya (History Opens Windows) by Jane Shuter; Life in Ancient Mesoamerica (Peoples of the Ancient World) by Lynn Peppa; The Ancient Maya (True Books: Ancient Civilizations) by Jackie Maloy; The Ancient Maya (People of the Ancient World) by Lila Perl.
I feel as though we should have apologetics taught all the way through, k and up. In some weeks the teacherís notes really accomplish this. We even take some points from the pageant of philosophy and discuss them. We used the Bible verses from the Loom document ĎWhy Teach Mythology?í as a few weeksí worth of study during our personal bible time.
In the worldview section in weeks 10-12 we are adding content about missionaries to show God grace and mercy through His desire that all would come. Although this is not chronological, the children are still able to apply the concept of our responsibility to share the Good News Godís salvation
We chose missionary books from year four. Also, we will be adding the book trial and triumph, to be read whenever there is not a worldview assignment.
Part of world view should be looking at the big ideas that shaped the world, through the eyes of God. We here at home believe that should also include the facts, and lightly touching on the horrors, of other belief systems. Christians are not pushy and whinny about our God; we have hard truth and facts from the very mouth of God about the evils and deceptions of other beliefs (which are really just following Satan).
God wants us to be world changers, one home at a time. We could be using every avenue to gently inform these little ones to solidly know God, His truths, and be aware of the lies that they will face. That is why we chose tapestry, and why we make these suggestions. Our hope is that families might be encouraged, make changes if they need, and be made aware of how one family responded to set backs we experienced with some of the book selections.
Thank you, truly, for the work you have done. Please take our suggestions and comments as just that. After doing the book research we have done, and the many hours of praying, reading, library travels etc., I donít want to sound ungrateful for the work that has been done. Maybe some of our changes can be applied or incorporated, if they are seen as an improvement, after having worked the system first hand.
May God, and His guidance and Grace be with you, always.